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Shawn Harrington returned to Marshall High School as an assistant coach years after appearing as a player in the iconic basketball documentary film Hoop Dreams. In January of 2014, Marshall's struggling team was about to improve after the addition of a charismatic but troubled player. Everything changed, however, when two young men opened fired on Harrington's car as he drove his daughter to school. Using his body to shield her, Harrington was struck and paralyzed.
The mistaken-identity shooting was followed by a series of events that had a devastating impact on Harrington and Marshall's basketball family. Over the next three years, as a shocking number of players were murdered, it became obvious that the dream of the game providing a better life had nearly dissolved.
All the Dreams We've Dreamed is a true story of courage, endurance, and friendship in one of America's most violent neighborhoods. Author Rus Bradburd, who has an intimate 40-year relationship to Chicago basketball, tells Shawn's story with empathy and care, exploring the intertwined tragedies of gun violence, health-care failure, racial assumptions, struggling educational systems, corruption in athletics - and the hope that can survive them all.
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More Hoop Dream Tragedies, With Some Hope
The Publisher's Summary for All the Dreams We've Dreamed is a tad misleading. Harrington wasn't really in the movie/documentary; he was years behind Arthur Agee, so wasn't much connected to him other than being in a featured school. Still, this book, like the documentary, shows that basketball can be an honest to God hope for, not a better future, but quite simply, ANY future. We're talking hard neighborhoods, hard lives--and many, many young men don't survive.
This was a really good book, though it ends rather suddenly. After all that happens, all that is delved into, the neat little bow we, the listeners, are handed just seems like set-up for the rest of the story. Truly, I wouldn't have minded waiting another year for release to see how things REALLY turn out.
Along the way, we meet many memorable young men, and that's a tragedy: because they're just memories at this point. A good deal of them fall victim to gun violence and utter hopelessness, living in a world with few options, where a decent 2-year college could mean the difference between life and death. There is plenty about the politics of education, the politics of managing guns, the politics of nothing mattering because it's black young men who are being decimated by the violence, not whites. (But this isn't a racially political book by any means).
A really good book, just short and sometimes it wanders a bit. We're taken into the lives and tragic circumstances/endings of many people before we get back to Shawn and what happens in his life, with his recovery. But a worthy listen.
4 people found this helpful
- Cathy A Anderson
What an eye opener
Resident of Chicago’s north side...knowing and hearing about shootings and killings on the west side but never understanding. This book is poetic in the way the story is told. I’m an alumnus of Von Steuben and have great memories of friends bussed to our north side school Memories of watching them play as Panthers. Great story here. Great read!
- Ryil A.
The writer was very knowledgeable about the history of Chicago basketball and weaved it nicely with characters to show the significance. I particularly liked the reading as well.
1 person found this helpful